PH, Chinese naval vessels in Scarborough Shoal standoff


IN ROUGH WATERS. Google map of Scarborough Shoal where Philippine and Chinese Navy vessels are currently in a standoff after the alleged intrusion into the disputed territory by Chinese fishing boats.

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Navy ship and at least two Chinese vessels were locked in a standoff for a second day at the Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday after the Philippine Navy caught eight Chinese fishing boats poaching in Philippine waters and was about to apprehend them, the foreign office said.

It said Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario had summoned the Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing to a meeting to resolve the problem diplomatically.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said the confrontation happened two days after a Philippine Navy surveillance plane found the eight Chinese fishing boats anchored inside the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal on April 8.

According to the DFA, the Panatag Shoal is an integral part of Philippine territory.

“The Shoal is 124 nautical miles from the nearest basepoint in Zambales province. It is within the Philippines’ 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf,” the DFA said.

To protect the marine environment and resources in the Panatag Shoal and to assert Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights over the area as a responsible coastal state, the Philippine Navy deployed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) from Palawan to Northern Luzon waters on the same day to conduct maritime patrol over the Shoal.

“In the course of its patrol, PF-15 confirmed the presence of the eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored inside the lagoon of the Shoal,” the DFA statement said.

The navy vessel remained in the vicinity of the shoal for continuous monitoring of the fishing vessels, it added.

In the morning of April 10, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, in accordance with the established rules of engagement, dispatched a boarding team to inspect the fishing vessels and collect photos and other evidence of their catch.

“The inspection team reported that large amounts of illegally collected corals, giant clams and live sharks were found inside the compartments of the first fishing vessel that was boarded by the PN team,” the DFA said.

It added that the BRP Gregorio del Pilar later reported that two Chinese maritime surveillance ships identified as Zhonggou Haijian 75 and Zhonggou Haijian 84 managed to sail to the mouth of the shoal, placing themselves between PF-15 and the eight Chinese fishing vessels, thus preventing the arrest of the Chinese fishermen.

This situation has remained unchanged as of Wednesday morning, the DFA noted.

“To seek a diplomatic solution, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario communicated to Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing in the evening of April 10 that the Panatag Shoal is an integral part of Philippine territory and the PN is enforcing Philippine laws on the Shoal, which is within the Philippine EEZ and Continental Shelf,” the DFA said.

Furthermore, Secretary del Rosario has invited Ambassador Ma to the DFA for further discussion of this issue, it added.

Zhang Hua, spokesman for China’s embassy in Manila, told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday he had no comment on the latest standoff.

The incident is the latest flare-up in tensions between the two countries over competing territorial claims to parts of the South China Sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits.

China insists it has sovereign rights to all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the coast of other countries and hundreds of kilometers (miles) from its own landmass.

The Philippines says it has sovereign rights over areas of the sea within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, and that its position is supported by international law.

Apart from China and the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, also have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea, making the waters one of Asia’s potential flashpoints for armed conflict.

The Philippines and Vietnam complained last year of increasingly aggressive acts by China in staking its claim to the South China Sea.

The Philippines accused Chinese vessels of firing warning shots at Filipino fishermen, as well as harassing an oil exploration vessel. AFP, AP

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  • white rabbitt

    I imagine that the Philippines is missing the Ex-U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay about now.

    • Boy_PickUp

       Say that to Erap and Coseteng’s face.

  • dennis

    By the way,PHILIPPINES,Please don´t forget YOUR OBLIGATION with UNCLOS about our claim on BENHAM RISE???….Baka maunahan na naman kayo ng mga Intsik na yan at sabihin na kanila? Pina-aalala ko lang na malapit na ang middle of 2012…..MR RUBEN PAJE “Hoy Gising!!!”

  • MonMayuga

    Ay naku, huwag nyo nang hanapin. Alam naman ninyo na nalulunod sa dollars and China. Tiyak na lumalangoy din sa dollars ang mga militante at makakaliwang grupo kaya walang nagrereklamo sa Chinese embassy.

  • dennis

    Philippines,Now you understand the Importance and how significant US Base in our country?…Inalisan nyo na ng trabaho ang madaming Pilipino ng mawala ang US Base,tapos mawawala pa sa atin ang “Scarborough Shoal”???……Then you will say at the end “Please US,help us!”…..Kundangan ba naman kayong mga ambisyoso sa politiko na palayasin ang US base due to political ambition…..Hay naku! COMMON SENSE…VERY UNCOMMON!!!

    • michael

      Hay nako sir, I agree, qng ginaya lang ntn ang Japan at Skorea n npaka friendly sa US edi cgro may sariling version ng F-15 na ginwa ang US para satin, kagaya ng F-15 K designed specificaly for Skorea

  • dennis

    Kung ibabalik man ang US Naval Base,the best option is in Balabac,Palawan! Location is very strategic! It will balance tension in Spratly Island including Scarborough Shoal and at the same time,will eye at the activities happening in Southern part of Mindanao like Sulu Archipelago.

    • Kerby

      sus! bakit sila babalik? para pag napaunlad na nila ung lugar at napaganda eh palalayasin uli sila tulad ng ginawa sa Subic at Clark? hindi sila ganun katanga tulad nung mga nagpalayas sa kanila dati.

  • Paul Rodriguez


    • Dale Allen Lumbres

      wala kang kwentang mamamayan ng bansang Pilipinas.. umalis ka na dito sa Pilipinas… nakakasama ka lang.. kaya nagiging bulok ang Pilipinas dahil sa mga taong masyadong binababa ang ating bansa… ikaw kaya ang humawak sa gobyerno at tignan natin kung ano magagawa mo..

    • Gerondio Quindara

      Nakakaawa ka Paul. Siguro nga suko ka na sa kalagayan ng bansa natin. At kung sakali man na magkaroon ng external aggression dahil sa mga pangyayari, baka kumampi ka pa sa mananakop para ma save mo ang sarili mo dahil kailangan mong makinabang instead of pakinabangan ka ng Pilipinas. 

    • MagbabasaSaKanto

      Parang sinabihan mu na din ang sarili mo na isa kang BULOK na nilalang! 

    • Ms Roofing

      sayang ang pinagpaaral sa yo ng mga magulang mo

  • Machiavelli

    Magiging walang kwenta lang ang Pilipinas Paul kung dadami ang lahi ng mga gaya mo Paul.

  • Rustico Harold Dela Cruz

    Kasalanan to ng mga lider dati, gusto masolo ang yaman ng pinas kaya nagpa-independent mula sa Amerika..dapat ay territorial state o island na tayo ng US ngayon gaya ng Hawaii, US Virgin Island, Guam, American Samoa at iba pa..dapat governor lang at namamahal sa atin at si Pres Obama ang Presidente natin..American citizen tayo at ipagtanggol tayo ng Amerika laban sa mapang-api na China..

  • Gerondio Quindara

    This Red China bullying won’t end unless we insist and stand united to defend and protect our sovereignty over our own territories. Let us be clear with this: SCARBOROUGH  OR PANATAG AREA IS NOT A DISPUTED TERRITORY, IT IS A PHILIPPINE TERRITORY!!! Engage the intervention of GOOD OFFICES like the ITLOS yes, but as a sovereign nation, we should make positive acts of protecting and securing territorial integrity. Send in more troops and vessels and air crafts to patrol and fly over those zones. Withhold and re-align those “pork barrels” not to disadvantage the political opposition but to support the operating costs of positioning those naval and air forces. We don’t need to fire the first shot, let the Chinese dare do it. I am wondering, what those “nationalists” are doing? Storm the Chinese embassy. But oooopppppssss! You may lose the financial and material support of your benefactor in so doing. Think again.    

  • MagbabasaSaKanto

    Historical Rights and 
    200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are way too different…but there is no other forum to settle the issue but the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

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